Thoughtful Holiday Gifts: What to Get That Person Who is Hard to Shop For

Written by Julie Paiva, CHHC


We all have someone on our shopping list who seems to have everything.  Studies show that most households these days have more tvs than people living in them.  Wanting to get them something for the holidays can often become quite the stressful experience.  Whether you have a “big spender” on your list that already owns it all or someone who wants for very little, these ideas are great gifts for all types.  They are sure to bring you as much joy as the giver as the recipient will receive.



No need to spend money on the gift of adventure or experience–offer your loved one a save-the-date coupon for a day at the park, shopping, spa, a hike and picnic, or a few hours of painting in at a local studio.


Make a Gourmet Meal

Make a beautiful meal you’ve never attempted before or take your friend out to a new restaurant.  Give them a subscription to Marpe Wellness and deliver it with one of the yummy recipes from this site.


Give of Your Time

Your time is worth more than your money. Tell a particularly busy friend that you’ll be donating several hours of your time to a project you know s/he supports or maybe they just need help around their own house.


Write a Poem or a Song

Write them a poem or song and then preform it live for them.  If you are not much of a presenter, write them a gratitude letter explaining why your grateful for them in your life.


Sign up for a Class or Workshop

If you know what your loved one is into (or at least what s/he’s not not into) offer a few yoga or art classes, a botanical walk, an art class or something to do together that neither of you has ever tried before.



Assuming you’re good with the little ones or know someone who is, your friends or family members all want some babysitting love. Offer a coupon, and let those moms and dads enjoy some quiet grown up time, get out and have some fun, or even just take a little nap.


An Intergenerational Gesture

Remember: Parents like kid-friendly events, too. And plenty of your friends are living with extended family. Throw a family-friendly party instead of buying a physical gift.  It can be fun and festive while enjoying valuable time together.



Who does not love to see a movie or a show?  Buy a package of movie tickets, tickets to their favorite band, musical or play.  We all love to shut our minds off for a few hours and be entertained.


Vacation, Anyone?

Who doesn’t need a little R&R? Chances are, even a weekend getaway close to home will bring more joy than an object of the same price. But keep in mind: studies suggest that planning a vacation is part of the fun. Design your gift so that the recipient has some control over the vacation itinerary.


Unconditional Love

Spend the day celebrating your special someone.  Let them know all of the things big and little that you love about them.  Do small acts of kindness throughout the day for them.  Offer your friend or family member pure and unconditional love for a day.


Once our basic needs are met, experiences actually make us happier than any “thing” money can buy.  Studies show that wanting more than we have is a recipe for misery. On the other hand, wanting what we already have predicts happiness.  Give your hard to shop for someone a memory this year.  Do one or more of these things for them.  I’m sure you both will fill your hearts full with gratitude, love and appreciation from any of these gestures.  The gifts of time, thoughtfulness, words of appreciation and gratitude are priceless.

Julie Paiva
Julie Paiva
Julie is a nutritional counselor with a degree in Holistic Health Coaching from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. She also has a Bachelor’s Degree from Central Connecticut State University in Elementary Education and a Master’s Degree in Science from Southern Connecticut State University. She has been giving one-on-one coaching sessions ever since earning her degree in 2013 and is passionate about helping others implement a holistic lifestyle!

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